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Ekaterina Dentsova announces independent presidential bid to challenge Putin in 2024 Russian election

  ”Hello! My name is Ekaterina Dentsova. I am 40 years old. I am a journalist and I have three children. I live in Rzhev, Tver Region…” In late November, Dentsova announced her hope After participating in the 2024 Russian presidential election, he opened his own official website and introduced himself to the public on this page.
  According to the conditions for participation required by the Russian Election Commission, independent candidates must first convene an initiative group of at least 500 people, obtain signatures of more than 300,000 voters, and submit the list to the Central Election Commission for review. Dentsova revealed on social media that as of December 2, local time, about 70,000 people had expressed their readiness to sign.
  However, according to Mikhail Vinogradov, chairman of the “St. Petersburg Politics” foundation, although the current President Putin has not yet announced his candidacy, the results of the 2024 Russian election have little suspense. He believes that today, Russia is still in the period of special operations against Ukraine, so the stability of the system is crucial. This also means that the large-scale reshuffle of the Russian cabinet after the election also has its limitations.
“Not thinking about Putin”

  On November 16, Duntsova announced on her social media that she would participate in the 2024 Russian election. She then launched a campaign website to promote herself and invited people to help her sign nomination documents.
  Since announcing her candidacy, Duntsova has been interviewed by the media and frequently asked the same question: Why was this decision made? She answered this question in detail on her personal website, while announcing her anti-war stance, hoping to stop military operations against neighboring countries and avoid splitting Russia from the West while working to improve citizens’ lives.
  In an interview, when she was asked about her attitude towards Russian President Vladimir Putin, Duntsova smiled awkwardly and said that she “didn’t think about Putin.” She also denied any ties to the Kremlin. “The Kremlin, the oligarchs and big business, they don’t support me,” she said.
  Duntsova revealed that after announcing her candidacy, she was summoned to the local prosecutor’s office on November 20. She said the department asked her about her stance on special operations in Ukraine. The local prosecutor’s office later wrote that the reporter “gave a general explanation.”
  For this election, Duntsova believes that although she has no previous political experience or party affiliation at the Russian federal level, due to her age, gender and lack of federal governance experience, this contrast may become her ” the most valuable resource”.
  Under the current global situation, the 2024 Russian election has attracted much attention, and the specific schedule and arrangements of the election have also triggered various speculations.
  On November 28, Gennady Zyuganov, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, revealed that the Upper House of the Russian Parliament plans to announce the specific date for the presidential election in March next year on December 13. “As far as I know, the Federal Council will officially announce the start of the presidential campaign at that time,” Zyuganov said.
  Russia’s “Independent” pointed out that there are less than two weeks left before the candidate qualifying competition on December 13, and only a few people have announced their candidacy.
  Previously, Igor Strelkov, a former Donetsk military commander and defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, announced his wish to run as an independent candidate. However, he is currently being held in a pretrial detention center on extremism charges. He is also wanted as a fugitive war criminal by the Netherlands, Ukraine and other countries due to his involvement in the 2014 Crimean crisis and the downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17.
  Russian demographer and economist Ustin Chashikhin announced his candidacy in August this year. He also published an election plan on his social networking site, proposing solutions to the country’s economic and demographic problems. This is not the first time Ustin Chashikhin has tried to enter the presidential candidate list. His attempts in 2012 and 2018 ended in failure.
  Ivan Otrakovsky of the All-Russian Military Officers Congress also announced on social media that he would become a candidate for the presidential position. He was a Marine captain and a veteran of the Chechen war. He tried to enter the candidate list in 2018, but also failed.
  Another liberal politician, Boris Nadezdin, plans to run for president on behalf of the Civic Initiative party. But his candidacy must be confirmed by party members at a congress in December. In his campaign plan, he proposed returning funds and power to local governments, restoring direct elections for mayors and governors, and making Russia’s internal issues a national priority.
  According to Russian political scientist Ekaterina Shulman, among those who have announced their candidacy, Duntsova has left a deep impression, not only because she is a woman, but also because of her clear anti-war position, and an expression style that is unreserved and unambiguous.
“Always immersed in politics”

  Dentsova was born on April 24, 1983 in Krasnoyarsk, the third largest city in Siberia. When he was 12 years old, his family moved to Rzhev, Tver Region. Dentsova graduated from a local university. On the official website, Dentsova stated that she received higher education in two majors: law and television news.
  After graduation, 20-year-old Duntsova began her career as a media person in this ancient city about 230 kilometers away from Moscow. She initially worked at municipal television for about a year, then became director of a school television studio and founded her own independent television company with her husband.
  In an interview, Duntsova said, “In the process of working in television news, we discussed local issues in depth, including housing, public services, bureaucracy, etc.” It is this kind of professional experience that allows her to “always be immersed in politics. middle”.
  In 2009, Duntsova also collaborated with others to collect more than 4,000 signatures from Rzhev citizens to oppose the abolition of direct elections for the mayor of Rzhev. In 2017, Dentsova once again participated in similar activities to fight for the restoration of direct election of the mayor in Rzhev. “That’s when I felt the need to do something rather than just observe as a journalist,” Dentsova recalled. ? ?
  According to reports, Duntsova has been supporting Roman Krylov, the city’s mayor and a member of the United Russia party, since 2016. She explained that the reason why she has always supported Krylov is not because of which party he belongs to, but because she sees the abilities and qualities of this leader. In 2019, Dentsova was elected as a member of the Rzhev City Duma. She said in the interview that the experience made her realize the importance of improving local governance across Russia, which later formed a core part of her campaign platform.
  Duntsova also said that while participating in local political work, she was often subjected to hateful and prejudiced remarks on social networks, and she also encountered many difficulties at work because of her stance. As a councilor, Duntsova voted against the municipal merger plan that started in 2016 in the Tver region.
  Today, 40-year-old Duntsova is an independent journalist who also coordinates local volunteer search and rescue teams to find missing adults and children. She raised her three children alone, 19-year-old Maria, 16-year-old Sofia and 10-year-old Sylvester. Duntsova said her three children support her choice, and her 19-year-old daughter is even keen to participate in the campaign.
Stability is key these days

  Mikhail Vinogradov, chairman of the “St. Petersburg Politics” foundation, is not optimistic about the possibility of other candidates winning.
  He believes that Russian presidential candidates often have limited competitiveness when running for office, and the votes they receive rarely benefit their careers. After the vote, candidates either retain their original positions, as in the case of Federal Communist Party Central Committee Chairman Gennady Zyuganov and Just Russia Party leader Sergei Mironov, or they leave politics entirely, as in 2018 Federal Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, former Kremlin adviser Sergei Glazyev and billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.
  On the day Zyuganov revealed when his presidential campaign would begin, he also announced that he would continue to participate in this presidential election. The 79-year-old Zyuganov is the longest-standing contender in Russia’s presidential election. He has participated in Russia’s presidential elections four times and failed each time. The last two times, he received 17% of the vote in 2008 and 18% in 2012.
  At the same time, Just Russia Party leader Sergey Mironov stated in an interview with RIA Novosti in September that he would no longer run for this presidential election and would instead support current President Putin.
  The latest polling data released by Russia’s independent polling agency Levada Center on November 30 also showed that two-thirds of Russians still believe that the country is moving in the right direction. The ruling United Russia party’s approval rating increased slightly compared with other parties, rising to 42% from 33% in August. At the same time, 85% of respondents made a positive evaluation of Putin, an increase of 5 percentage points from September.
  Mikhail Vinogradov believes that the results of this election are almost predictable. Traditionally, the beginning of a presidential term is a time of political reshuffle or major reform. But logically, this election is unlikely to see any major changes, as a reshuffle could distract from actions in Ukraine. Today, stability is key to the Russian system.
  Returning to the current campaign situation, the Russian “Independent” noticed that Boris Nadezdin has established his own campaign organizations in many regions of Russia, and has recently visited Kostroma and other regions, gaining relatively positive feedback. evaluate. Compared with Nadezhdin’s offline popularity, Dentsova’s popularity on social networks is rising. Her personal account on the social media Telegram channel currently has 100,000 subscribers. Since announcing her candidacy, Duntsova has begun to move more frequently from online to offline, responding to all the hot news, such as the authorities said to be brewing plans to ban abortions for Russian women.
  However, as an independent candidate, Duntsova still has to overcome a series of challenges before becoming an official presidential candidate. According to the requirements of the Russian Election Commission, first of all, in order for independent candidates to be nominated and registered, they must first form an initiative group of more than 500 people. Duntsova’s team plans to launch a rally in Moscow. She said, “If we cannot gather the first time, we will try the second time, and so on.”
  After the initiative group is formed, Duntsova must also collect 300,000 voter signatures from at least 40 regions in Russia and submit the list to Central Election Commission review. In an interview with the media, Duntsova revealed that some supporters are ready to help them establish campaign agencies in various cities.
  Currently, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not made any statement about participating in the 2024 presidential election. However, according to the TASS news agency, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on November 17, “Although President Putin has not yet announced whether he intends to run for office, I sincerely hope that he will, and I have no doubt that he will Will win the election.” Previously, Peskov said more than once, “Currently, Russian President Putin has no domestic competitors and cannot have any competitors.”

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